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image Image 1 for SM (2) 61/5/9
image Image 2 for SM (2) 61/5/9
  • image Image 1 for SM (2) 61/5/9
  • image Image 2 for SM (2) 61/5/9

Reference number

SM (2) 61/5/9

Purpose

Design, datable to July 1790

Aspect

2 Plan of the Kings Theatre in the Hay Markett

Scale

bar scale of 1/7 inch to 1 foot

Inscribed

as above, plan lettered A to W (multiple times) corresponding to key: A Piaza 30 Ft 6 in by 20 Ft 9 in / B Lobby / C Stair Case to the 5s Gallery / D Stair Case to 4D 3s Gallery // E Passage to Front Boxes // F Passages to Sides Boxes // G Stair Case to 4D Upper Boxes // DF New pitt door // AR Area, H the Pitt // I Side Boxes & I' the front Boxes // K Pitt Doors // L Stair Case to New Door way into Pitt // M Little Scene Room // O Orchestra 9 feet 3 in wide // P Stage 50 ft 8 inch Long // Q Side Wings // KL front stage Lights 8 inches wide, U part of the Stage used for fixg the Machinery // V Door way into Greate Scene Room 34.8 by 22.1 // W Door way to Dressing Rooms // X Door way to Stair Case to Top of 4D House // Y Door way to Tea Room Ocasionly [sic] open / into Stage) Z Door way to Coffe [sic] Room // AB Door way to 4D. Late Macmahoons [sic] Office // CD way to Wardrobe // GH Stage Boxes, CR Coffe [sic] Room 57 Ft 8 in by 28 Ft 4 in // DR Dressing Rooms 30 Ft 4 in Front // WC Water Closetts 14 Ft 4 in Front // DR Dressing Rooms 14 ft 4 in front / PR Painted Room 17 Ft 4 in front // GS Grand stair case 8 [ft] 1 [in] D[itto] // LTR Little Tea Room 18 [ft] 1 [in] D[itto] // TR Tea Room 22 [ft] 3 [in] // GR Gaming Room 28 1 by 28 3 // ML Markett Lane Door // KD Kings Door, and plan labelled: Easte Front Hay Markett, North upon the White horse Stable yard, New pitt / door, and some dimensions given, (pencil) 33 feet

Signed and dated

datable to July 1790 (see Notes)

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, pen and coloured washes, including yellow ochre, pink and grey, on laid paper (659 x 546)

Hand

see Notes below

Watermark

J Whatman and fleur-de-lis over cartouche with GR below

Notes

This is most likely the same drawing that was delivered by Mr O'Reilly's servant on 10 July 1790 (Journal No 1). It is either a survey of the old Haymarket Theatre pre-fire, or Novoskielski's intended design. The Survey of London (op.cit.) has attributed the hand to Michael Novosielski: the hand matches a letter by him from 1784. Novosielski was the architect of the King's Theatre from 1782 to 1793: he made alterations from 1782 and rebuilt the entire structure after a fire in 1789.

The drawing was made after 1785. This is confirmed by a label on the plan: 'AB Door way to 4d. Late Macmahoons office'. The inscription refers to Parkyns Macmahon, the secretary at the King's Theatre who served at least from 1783 to 1785. It indicates that Macmahon has died, thus dating the drawing to after 1785. 'The Case of the Opera House Disputes, Fairly Stated (1784), as quoted by Highfill, Burnim and Langhans (op. cit.), records that Macmahon's position had been specially created and that he was "puff master to the trustees." He dispatched bills, received subscriptions, and handled other duties that had formerly belonged to the treasurer. For his services MacMahon received £150. He lived at No 77, Haymarket, next door to the theatre, according to the playbill of 18 June 1785. He was described as an unsavory character who had been a servitor at a convent, then a monk, then a soldier in an Irish brigade before coming to London'(Highfill, Burnim and Langhans).

As pointed out in the Survey of London (op.cit.) this design is remarkably similar to a plan for an opera house by Robert Adam (SM Adam volume 28/23). The Adam drawing is undated but it is clearly intended for the site at Haymarket.

Literature

P.H.Highfill, K.A.Burnim and E.A.Langhans, A Biographical dictionary of actors, actresses, musicians, dancers, managers and other stage personnel in London, 1660-1800, 1993, Volume 10, p. 38; Survey of London, St Anne Soho, volume XXXIV, 1966, pp. 455-464.

Level

Drawing

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